EyeSpy’s Jo Sykes: Lack of Relevant Candidates in Emerging Markets Is an Obstacle We Help Overcome

Overcoming recruitment challenges is EyeSpy’s bread-and-butter. The company has positioned itself as the leading talent acquisition agency in iGaming, developing a targeted approach to individual markets. Today, Jo Sykes, founder and director of executive talent acquisition, talks about another important aspect of finding the right fits in the industry – localization, and hand-picking the candidates who possess the relevant knowledge of emerging markets. There are many things that both businesses and candidates value, and EyeSpy is in a great position to facilitate the negotiations between employers and the right talent. 

Q: What are the main challenges operators face when staffing market-specific support offices based outside of that market?

A: One of the major challenges facing operators, especially based out of their domestic market, is the lack of readily available candidates with online gambling-specific skills and knowledge in new or unestablished markets such as LatAm or North America.

We generally find that when approaching candidate sourcing for these types of markets, the key roles companies focus on will be positions such as Vice President of Operations with gaming-specific experience. Then from there, they will go on to hire from similarly fast-paced digital sectors, with a strong emphasis on training. Apart from this, other essential areas that are typically focused on for remote office recruitment include Customer Service, VIP, Fraud Risk, and Payments.

Depending on the market, Payments and Fraud Risk roles will often be prioritized as these aspects usually pose the biggest challenges when entering new territories.

Ultimately, staffing and supporting remote offices is about implementing strong leadership on the ground. This is not just for bridging the working cultures but also to provide vital localized knowledge. The most common type of candidates we see stepping into these leadership roles will be native speakers to the market with previous experience as a Country Manager, for example.

Q: Do people want to work in these offices in different time zones to the place where they are working from?

A: From our extensive experience placing candidates in these sorts of roles, different time zones, or even working unsociable hours hasn’t ever been much of an inhibitor.

Providing the parent company or operator can offer a competitive salary and an attractive working environment, plus a raft of job benefits usually enables them to continue to attract the best talent and overcome any negative aspects of the job.

Many of our clients will also go to great efforts to ensure remote offices promote the same employee branding as their domestic offices and have a heavy focus on culture development. This helps the sites to feel more connected and synergized with the parent company, having a continued positive impact on staff morale and output.

Q: Do companies have to offer additional incentives to attract staff?

A: The gaming sector, generally, already has very competitive salaries and associated work benefits in place, so providing additional incentives are always regarded as a major part of most hires.

In the past, we have known extremely localized instances of employee benefits where operators have adapted to the local market very specifically.

For example, an operator we worked with to staff their Philippines office integrated the provision of bags of rice into monthly salaries, as it was seen as something particularly desirable for that market, and it was extremely well received by employees.

As mentioned before, there’s already a very strong salary and benefits structure in these spaces because nearly everyone we work with wants perfect alignment across their offices and their operations. Putting all employees on an equal footing, regardless of office location, is the key to success when attempting to attract and retain the best-localized talent in the industry.

Q: How can these challenges be overcome?

A: Successfully approaching these challenges can be done by following the same principles a company would introduce when driving the development of a positive working culture in their home territories.

Of course, certain aspects of hiring will be localized but what we’ve found is that ultimately, candidates everywhere value the same things. Stability, competitive pay, positive working environments, good benefits and a clearly outlined role where expectations of both the candidate and hiring company are both well-aligned will all be key contributors to overcoming the challenge of sourcing talent across the globe.

Q: What qualities should organizations be looking for in these employees?

A: Whether sourcing for a client or customer-facing role, the core values an organization should be looking for should be good communication skills and on-the-ground experience to that specific territory, even if outside the gaming sector.

Being aligned with the company culture, values and ethos are also extremely important. We’ve seen situations where a candidate may be the perfect choice on paper, seems to have all of the relevant job-related experience but is completely misaligned with the company culture. In cases like this, it’s risky because a company may hire this person but will find it challenging to retain them because their motivations don’t match.

It needs to be recognized more than job experience, and working culture are two very different and distinctive things. However, if the interview process is correctly structured and places an equal focus on both aspects of professional experience and cultural fit, then hiring the right candidate with the best qualities shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

Q: Anything else to add?

A: In an increasingly globalized world where tech developments and industry innovation has progressed so much, recruitment can span disparate continents and time zones easier than ever before.

For over ten years, we’ve recruited across Europe, Australia and America without the luxuries of today’s ‘New norms,’ such as Zoom and remote working. 

These global localization challenges have become a lot easier to overcome for European operators, and we look forward to partnering with these, ensuring their future success, attracting the best talent across the globe.

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